Category Archives: HR

S Venkateshwaran On Dysfunctional Organization Cultures And Falling Corporate Empires

ganesh article on Culture

A reader of Mission Sharing Knowledge S Venkateshwaran had this to say on one of our previous articles. Since we thought the comment to be really relevant, we have published it in its entirety. 

Dysfunctionality tends to occur in those organization more often than not, where the Boss is either a self made person who thinks that he / she knows how to run the business, or has an aggressive approach to business more out of the need to over achieve. I have worked in an organization where the Boss was so stern that he would keep pushing people in all directions. Every day would start off with meetings in which all the heads had to participate.

This would go on for an hour (discussing the activities of the previous night in terms of production targets etc.), followed usually by two or three in depth meeting with selected departments and finally followed by end of day meeting to review what was supposed to be done in the day. At the end of it all, he would rave and rant because work did not happen. To ensure this, he would make all the Heads stay back late.

The irony was he wanted a strong HR team that would “fearlessly” tell him when he was wrong. Quite obviously, when that happened, the poor guy was out of work the next week. Highly emotional, and rigid, the person would shower abuses which would put a rickshaw driver to shame.

The only group of people who were able to work with him, were, not surprisingly, those who could flatter and live up as his ego alters, who also used the same technique of imposing themselves on the poor “lower the line” persons. Not surprisingly, attrition was very high; but this did not affect him, even though others in the company knew the reality but choose to keep quiet.

Based on my observations, some of the traits of a dysfunctional Manager I would think are:

Tells you to do something you don’t want to do, but blames you when it goes wrong.
Says He / She wants you to take responsibility, and then publicly overrides your decisions.
Loves to be in front when there is a big audience otherwise will send sub juniors to attend a customer.
Intimidates with aggressive words and posture, knowing that you will never confront but becomes a pacifier when confronted. .
Handles meetings as though he is the only speaker.
Revels in the invention of creative curses for just the right occasion.
Verbally approves new requisitions, later denies doing it.
Gets too personal in his berating.
Ride you mercilessly while pet employees can do no wrong.
Always right: when confronted with mistakes, blames them on someone else.
Fiercely protective of pet projects.
Highly compulsive and obsessive about minute details.
Displays a good understanding of the “Good Cop” and “Bad Cop” routines and generally practices it.

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Dysfunctional Organization Cultures And Falling Corporate Empires

ganesh article on Culture

Ganesh Subramanian from IIM Trichy writes why without transparency in communication organizations would invite doom. 

A friend of mine called me up a few days ago seeking some suggestions to come out of the problems that she finds herself in, in her company. She works as a recruitment executive in a firm. She said that a week before her recruitment, the firm had rolled out offers to candidates who are joining a multinational firm, which is a client of this recruitment firm. Despite slogging for a week and achieving targets which have never been achieved before, there was little appreciation for the work done. Forget appreciation, there wasn’t even a mention of the work in the subsequent team meetings by her boss. To complicate matters, the recruitment team was asked to report to a lady who is supposedly well known to the boss. Now this lady is new to the business of recruitment having moved into this role only a few months back and behaves more like a school teacher than a team lead. In this scenario, my friend was contemplating quitting her job and she says that the organization culture is bad beyond repair.

In another example, a CEO of a firm is known for his frequent outbursts of anger, shouting at his subordinates, in front of others. The CEO’s behaviour has percolated down to the individual business units as business unit heads shout at their subordinates because the CEO shouts at them. The funny part is that this organization had a 360 degree appraisal system for assessment of performance. No wonder that the employees of the organization are scared to death when it comes to rating their superiors.

These two examples set me thinking on how organization cultures can make or mar organizations. Organizations such as those mentioned above fall into oblivion and get into a very bad cycle because nobody knows how to change this bad culture. It is very obvious that the cue has to come from the top management. The behaviour and the culture of the organisation have to be driven by the CEO and carried on by the business unit heads.

For sustainable growth of organizations, there must be transparency in communication, freedom and autonomy in work and more importantly an environment where everyone feeds off each other’s growth which in term helps them grow. The HR in the bad-cultured organizations become the scapegoat in the whole process as employees blame the HR for anything and everything little realizing that HR in such organisations do not have the power to overhaul systems in one go and they are mere spectators in the whole game.

To conclude, top management must be proactive in setting the right environment for a thriving organizational culture and must give the HR department the full freedom to maintain the culture, suggest changes for betterment and even change it.

Employee Recognition Is A Must

Rahul Krishna, Manager – Talent Acquisition Group, Espire Infolabs, speaks about one of the best practices of the industry – Rewards & Recognitions.

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Some of the best Rewards & Recognition strategies are those that cost the least. The behavior that is recognized and rewarded is always the behavior that is repeated and widely spread by word of mouth, Simple Virtue.

This is a part of the global Recognitions & Rewards that energizes and engages employees to achieve your strategic goals. Employee recognition is a communication tool that highlights the most important outcome employees create for your business. When you reward your employees, the action and behavior you wish to see more frequently in your employees is inevitably repeated.

Reward programs prove more beneficial to the company than to the employees. Companies which have an effective program in place realize an increase in the average return to shareholders as opposed to companies which do not have ways to recognize employees. Only one in three Indian employees is working at full potential.

Dos & Don’ts: Designing a process in which managers get to select employees who will receive recognition might not be the best thing since the selection would inevitably happen on the basis of favoritism. A Process that single outs an individual, upon the individual contribution you made in the company’s growth, for instance, “Employee of the Month” or “Individual Contribution Award” will be more effective and motivating for employees.

For such recognition programs, each employee would receive a thank you note, hand-written by his Chief Reporting officer. This should spell out why the employee is receiving the honor/recognition.

The note would include the potential for the employee to participate in a “DRAW”. Gifts may range from a movie ticket to a dinner booking with family. Alternatively, it can be cash rewards.

National Employee Appreciation Day: This will be a perfect period to kick off a long-term employee recognition program. These appreciation days are important things when you recognize your employees in a Town Hall Meeting, and explain why the organization has chosen him/her.

As you can see, employee recognition programs are complex, and we need to architect those parameters to filter people. How is one person different from another person? Each program is custom-built to meet the needs of your organization.

In short, you need improve your bottom line as these resources are doing the real hard work and we have to measure our own employees by boosting employee retention and encouraging performance improvement.

For employees who wish to analyze their potential, you need to do the below following:

–  Utilize all your strengths
–  Manage your weakness

Please write these above on a paper and work to improve your own skills and the organization will recognize you as a potential candidate for the Student of the year Award! 🙂 Just joking Employee of the month goes to you, my friend.

Do You Have a Mobile Strategy to Hire Candidates?

Rahul Krishna, Manager Talent Acquisition Group at Espire Infolabs talks about a mobile strategy to hire candidates to empower employees by a cloud referral system! Also talks about opening a new source to get candidates other than the job boards.

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A Mobile phone can be a potential source to recruit top talent in your organizations. We have all the major job boards & application on our phones and this improves the candidate’s user experience to apply as you see.

There can be application acting as a referral system which empower the recruiters and open a new gate to get those referred resumes which are not present on a job board. It’s quite important to realize that the referred candidate has higher chances to qualify and join the organization as we have an employee who has referred that candidate. We are connecting to the web and corporate recruiters must understand and learn the uptrends of the market. We need to integrate a mobile application with the career website which will open a window to refer candidates

As you read further in the article we will explore the techniques for hiring talent globally & also participating in the Mobile uprising for convenience, with a click of a button which is handy enough for you.

Make this application available on the cloud, get this application to your employees; this will enable them to refer when they are not at work. Your employees will make a difference and the employees who do not refer they will also start using it as this is available on the smartphone. They have an independence to make a request and share the contact number, name and email address, a resume can be given at a later point of time. In this manner your employees have all the job opportunities of in their handheld, so it is easy for them to check with their old colleagues/friends and enable them and giving a chance to work with them. Also in this referral system we can prioritize the urgency of the position to get filled as we are hiring all billable resources and it involves a lot of money.

We may not be in front of our computer however we are always available on phone. Let’s try to be on the mobile to hire best talent globally through a referral system, giving confidence and opening a gate to your employees to participate in their company growth.

The How of Happiness

happiness-sheet1

Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore, writes on What makes us happy? How can we become happier? Is happiness sustainable?

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology addresses these fundamental questions in her book “The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want”, a book of strategies backed by scientific research that can be used to increase happiness.

Our individual level of happiness springs from three primary sources:

  1. Our Genetic Set Point:  50% of our happiness derives from a genetically determined “set point”. Those of us with low happiness set points have to work harder to achieve and maintain happiness, while those of us with high set points will find it easier to be happy under similar conditions.
  2. Our Life Circumstances determine only 10% of our happiness. In our quest to become happier, many of us focus on changing the circumstances of our lives in the misguided hope that those changes will deliver happiness. Research shows that trying to be happy by changing our life situations ultimately will not work because we human beings readily, rapidly and remarkably adapt to positive circumstantial changes
  3. Intentional Activities – The remaining 40% of our happiness is determined by our behaviour – intentional activities that we can call “happiness strategies.”

We cannot alter our genetic set points; changes in life circumstances don’t have a lasting impact on our happiness, but we can increase and sustain our happiness through these happiness-increasing strategies.

Expressing Gratitude – Counting your blessings for what you have or conveying gratitude and appreciation to others

Cultivating Optimism – Practicing to look at the bright side of every situation.

Avoiding Overthinking and Social Comparison – Using strategies (such as distraction) to cut down on how often you dwell on your problems and compare yourself with others.

Practicing Acts of Kindness – Doing good things for others, whether friends or strangers, directly or anonymously, spontaneously or planned.

Nurturing Social Relationships – Picking a relationship in need of strengthening and investing time and energy in healing, cultivating, affirming and enjoying it.

Developing Strategies for Coping – Practicing ways to endure or surmount a recent stress, hardship or trauma.

Learning to Forgive – Keeping a journal or writing a letter in which you work on letting go of anger and resentment toward the one/s who have hurt or wronged you.

Increasing Flow Experiences – Increasing the number of experiences at home and work which are challenging and absorbing.

Savoring Life’s Joys – Paying close attention, taking delight, and replaying life’s momentary pleasures and wonders, through thinking, writing, drawing, or sharing with another.

* Committing to Your Goals – Picking one, two, or three significant goals that are meaningful to you and devoting time and effort to pursuing them.

Practicing Spirituality

Taking Care of Your Body – Meditation, Physical Activity, Smiling and Laughing

It is important to choose happiness strategies that address the source of our unhappiness, that take advantage of our strengths, talents and goals, that can be adapted easily to our needs and lifestyle.

happiness

Salary Negotiations – Recruiters Pride – Part 2

Business meeting

In this second part of his article Rahul Krishna, Manager – Talent Acquisition at Espire Infolabs, talks of the other four components of a successful salary negotiation for an HR professional. Read, learn, grow.

1. Present the offer as a total reward package

When making the offer, present it as an itemized total reward package so people can see the true value of what is being offered to them. So, include: salary, size of any bonus, size of any retirement fund with monetary value of contribution, plus value of any health insurance premium value, number of vacation days, company car value, personal training budget, etc. Also, itemize any non monetary perks like flexible working and casual dress code.

2. Leave some negotiation room in your offer

Research shows that most managers tend to leave some negotiation room in their offer. This is not necessarily the same as ‘shooting low’, because if you make too low an offer, a candidate can be insulted and you might force him/her into driving a harder bargain than intended. Always make a fair offer based on their current salary, their need for advancement and market expectations; but leave enough room to negotiate. Don’t forget, many people like to negotiate and see it as part of a relationship building process.

3. Rebuttals

If an employee refuses your offer and requests a higher salary, ask them what their expectation is and ask them to provide economic evidence for their position. Also, ask them to detail their past achievements and likely contributions to justify their requested starting salary. This is a strong defensive play, which firmly pushes the ball back into their court. Who knows, they may persuade you they are worth it, or they may be forced into a reality check, which could make them more accommodating.

4. Bargaining tools

You should also have an array of bargaining tools—based on your accumulated knowledge of the candidate—at your disposal that you can offer in exchange for salary. For example, perhaps the option of working from home, or a compressed week may be more attractive to your candidate in preference for salary. Perhaps you could make pay raises conditional based on achieving agreed performance goals. You could enhance their bonus. There are many other options available to you in the event that the candidate rejects your initial offer.

There is no magic formula for handling a salary-negotiation, but I hope you can see there are steps you can take to perform more effective salary negotiations more of the time. A well thought out negotiating and closing process is critical to your success!

salary-negotiation-tips

Salary Negotiations – Recruiters Pride – Part 1

salary cover

One of the key stages of the hiring process is the starting salary negotiation. It is a hurdle that needs to be overcome if you are to close the deal on your dream candidate. While there is no magic formula for handling a salary negotiation—as it can be impacted by many external factors beyond your control—there are several tactics to follow that can help you to engage in a mutually beneficial and ultimately successful salary negotiation.

Rahul Krishna, Manager – Talent Acquisition Group Espire Infolabs advices on the subject in the first part of this two-part series.

1. Put the salary range in the job description

There is a general reluctance for employers to include salary details in the job description, but by failing to do this, you are making salary negotiations harder as you are not setting the candidate expectations correctly and you may attract candidates who are off the scale. Where possible, include a range, even if it is broad, and make it clear that the candidate’s actual pay will be dependent on their experience and likely contribution to the business. This way you will filter out those candidates who are out of the ball park and where salary negotiations are likely to be fruitless — and a potential waste of both party’s time.

2. Check whether you are in the same ball park

There can be a tendency for the candidate and hiring manager to negotiate according to poker rules and not show their hand early, which means salary expectations, may not be revealed until late in the process. This can lead to salary negotiation issues if the candidate and employer salary expectations prove to be wide apart or not in the same ball park. At the very least, ask the candidate to confirm their current salary and package, so you can check you are on the same page and save wasting each other’s time.

3. Give additional reasons to join you, other than just money

Don’t allow the candidate to become too fixated on salary; give them other reasons to join you by constantly promoting all the other positive perks and aspects of working at the business, be that: culture, training, challenging work, location, benefits, flexible working, etc. The candidate will factor in all these perks and may be prepared to accept a lower salary in the knowledge that he/she will be receiving all these great perks.

4. Make the offer face-to-face

Where possible, try handing over the offer letter face-to-face and then talk them through it, rather than by post or email. It’s much easier to reject or query an offer that has come via email, or letter as it is quite impersonal. So, personalize and make the offer face-to-face and this should give you the upper hand. Of course, the candidate should still be given a few days to make up his/her mind, if need be.

Wait for the next set of guidelines in my next post.

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